What’s The Verdict On Freschetta’s Gluten Free Pizza?

As Fall has rolled in, so has the season of colds, flus, and apparently millions of new kinds of viruses too. Unfortunately my little family, freshly vaccinated for the flu I’d like to add, passed around one of those bugs for a week. Little one and my husband seemed to shake theirs but I haven’t been so lucky. Just so happens that I have a lovely case of pneumonia from that nasty bug. Such a downer, especially seeing as Fall is one of my favorite seasons with all of the fun festivals and activities that my little one would just love. So despite the beautiful crisp Fall air that rolled in this past weekend in the Northeast, I spent the majority of it inside trying to get better.

Along with a sicky Mommy, come mediocre half home-cooked meals and lots of indoor play time. As far as play time is considered, little one has been a real trooper, but I can certainly tell her patience is beginning to wear thin so I’m going to have to be pretty creative with this week’s indoor activities since I’m still under the weather. Food wise though, she’s always my biggest fan so we haven’t had too many disagreements on my quick meal choices. 

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A few weeks ago, while we were at BJs picking up some family sized items, I spotted a two pack of the Freschetta gluten free pizzas for only $13.99, a great deal compared to the single pie price of $10.99 at Shop Rite. At that price I was sold, so we grabbed one package and stashed them in the freezer for a rainy day. Well, with me being so down and out lately I decided to whip out these pizzas and give them a try. Any meal that would save me a half hour on my feat of prep was a winner in my book, so it was pizza night over the weekend for our family. 



A Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza with thin crust and lots of cheese and sauce.



A Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza with thin crust and lots of cheese and sauce.

After about 15 minutes of cooking, the pizzas were ready and boy did they smell delicious! First, I have to mention how big they are. These pizzas are easily the same full size of any other frozen pizza out there, a huge change from the other frozen, premade gluten free pizzas that are available only in a personal pan size. Now onto the pizza itself. The crust is super thin, soft and chewy in the middle and browned and crispy on the outside. And the sauce and cheese that tops it all is perfectly tasty, just as good as a pie from a restaurant I must say. Overall, this pizza is phenomenal! I still prefer making my own pizzas but for the price for the two pack and how delicious these are, it certainly does make me think twice. 

I highly recommend snagging these Gluten Free Freschetta Pizzas! And if you can, grab them in a family size pack from your local BJs, Costco, or Sams Club to save yourself some money. Great job Freschetta and thank you for your fantastically tasty contribution to the gluten free community!

Sincerely,

Lindsay 

This Halloween Pass Out Treats For All Kids To Enjoy By Participating In The Teal Pumpkin Project

As you might remember, I’ve mentioned a couple times my nephew who has severe allergies to milk, egg, peanuts, and shellfish. At only 7, this poor little boy has experienced more health wise than some of us in our twenties. With countless emergency visits to the doctor to the dreaded food challenges at Children’s Hospital, his life at 7 is not enviable by many. So when Halloween rolls around, a day that kids countdown to in anticipation of the boat loads of candy that they’ll get, my dear little nephew who can eat a grand total of 3-4 candies out of the entire candy aisle isn’t entirely thrilled with the idea of getting candy. Sure he looks forward to dressing up and the act of trick-or-treating but giving the bulk of his loot up at the end of the night to his brothers or his favorite aunt over here isn’t his favorite part.

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In the past, I always try to make sure that we have some non-candy treats for him, as well as some of his special allergy free candy treats too. At least this way he’ll always have a few houses that he’ll get treats that he won’t have to surrender at the end of the night. This year however I stumbled upon the Food Allergy Research & Education’s Teal Pumpkin Project. 

Make sure you head over to FARE’s site for more non-food treat ideas and to print out their Teal Pumpkin Project flyers to hang in your door or window. Also, get your kids involved and have them paint a pumpkin teal to keep on your doorstep! Help make this Halloween fun and safe for all the kids out there!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

 

Gluten Free And Trying To Conceive: From Ovulation To Fertility

Okay so you’ve picked out your gluten free prenatal vitamins and started taking them and you’re all on board for your diet adjustments, so all you have to do now is get pregnant, right? Ah, if things were only that easy. As many would probably agree, trying to get pregnant is almost as stressful as the actual pregnancy itself, from ovulation schedules to fertility issues and for some of us the impact of a gluten free life. There are so many ways that the stress of getting pregnant can become overwhelming; thankfully though there are some methods and some studies to relieve at least a few of your worries. Thanks to ovulation kits and so many other indicators of fertility, conception has been made simpler in a lot of ways. In addition to predicting the best time for conception, some of us also have the added worry of whether or not our pre-gluten free life or current gluten free diet will affect our ability to get pregnant. There’s just so many questions and worries that I for one faced when I was trying to conceive; so by sharing what I experienced during my pre-pregnancy time before little one, some of these questions may be answered for you.

Ovulation:  

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One of our best friends when we were trying to get pregnant with our little one were the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Tests. We tried the line reading ones but the digital by far were easier for result reading, no guessing if a line was darker because it’s actually darker or because you’re willing it to be darker. Back then my days were so much more predictable so I had some idea of when things were supposed to happen, which is a huge help if you’re able to do that. The digital ovulation tests just took so much of the guess work out, confirming the specific days that were most promising. These tests can really be your best friend especially if you’ve never had a regular cycle or are not quite as regular for trying for baby number two as you were for baby number number one. Either way, the digital ovulation tests are a godsend and really helped us out and will hopefully be helpful for us next time around too.

Gluten Free & Fertility:  

Unfortunately, predicting your ovulation days is only a small piece of the puzzle of conception. Before my husband and I had tried to get pregnant with our little girl, I was concerned about the effect of my gluten free life not only on a pregnancy, but also on our attempts to get pregnant. I had no idea if a gluten free diet could negatively impact our chances of getting pregnant or have the opposite effect. So to take away some of the worries that I had before we even tried to have a baby, I googled away trying to find some type of evidence that would make me feel better. 

What I learned from all of my research is that there is definitely a link between gluten sensitivity and fertility, but not in a way that I was fearing. Research has actually convinced medical professionals that an undiagnosed gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, while negative in a lot of ways, may contribute to or actually cause fertility issues in both men and women. This theory suggests then that a gluten free diet is in no way a hindrance on conceiving but can rather be a beneficial adjustment if fertility issues are known to exist. 

While everyone knows in the gluten free community that if individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity were to consume gluten they would suffer from physical distress in the form of noticeable symptoms along with internal damage. An impact of gluten consumption in these individuals that was relatively unheard of until a few years back were fertility issues. In 2010, there was a study that demonstrated undiagnosed celiac disease to be a common denominator in women who had unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriages, and other pregnancy complications. From this study, it was suggested that if women are experiencing infertility or any other pregnancy complications then they should consider getting tested for celiac disease. In those with celiac or a suspected gluten sensitivity, treating with a gluten free diet could then resolve or at least reduce risks of pregnancy complications. Feel free to read more of Dr. Kumar’s fertility study here.

Reading studies of that nature definitely eased my worries of a gluten free diet possibly affecting our ability to get pregnant in a negative way. In fact, I was incredibly grateful that I had gone gluten free before we had contemplated adding children to the mix seeing as the damage that gluten was doing to my body could have gone as far as inhibiting our ability to get pregnant. That connection is incredibly disturbing and saddens me that so many individuals may succumb to this negative side effect without ever realizing the culprit. This is yet another reason why doctors should be thoroughly educated on diagnosing not only celiac disease but also gluten sensitivity too. Since I had gone to a doctor who never suggested the possibility of a food intolerance or celiac disease, I had never heard anything about either one of these let alone their possible effects on my ability to have children. As a woman, and let me just say that there is proof that gluten can affect men’s fertility as well, who has lived her life almost entirely consuming gluten until the past few years of gluten free living, it’s extremely overwhelming to hear side effects of this nature that could affect you and your future family.

As I always say, there’s so much more to living a gluten free life than just literally living gluten free. From the day you realized that your body couldn’t handle gluten or wheat your world changes drastically and becomes so much more than just omitting certain things from your diet. It’s so much harder than that, you truly feel like you live in a world that just wasn’t made for you. Aside from the challenges of just eating, the lack of knowledge and/or understanding of the severity of this lifestyle in the general public and medical field is really tough to adjust to. You really do feel like you have to justify your lifestyle to everyone around you, not to mention with minimal help from anyone with a medical know how. Hopefully though, by doing just this and getting the word out, the knowledge and importance of understanding this diet will grow and we’ll find ourselves in much better company in a few years. 

So, if you find yourself ready to take the next step to trying for a baby make sure you’re aware of your own health. If you’ve just gone gluten free, congratulations! Give your body some time to recuperate and then hop on board the baby making train. If you’ve been gluten free for some time, go for it, and don’t worry about your gluten free diet during this stage of the game. If you’re not gluten free but are having some difficulties conceiving, talk to your doctor first and discuss trying a gluten free diet, there’s no harm in trying. Regardless if your gluten free or not, try to enjoy this time. I’ll let you in on a little secret, my husband and I are hopefully on the road to adding baby number two and I have to say that I forgot how tough and stressful this whole process can be. I welcome all of you to feel free to share your experiences, remember your story could help someone else or at least make others feel like they aren’t alone.

I hope all of you are blessed with that little one that you’ve been praying for. I’ll send some prayers your way too!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

A Perfect Way To Start Your Last Disney Day Is A Gluten Free Breakfast At Chef Mickey’s

A Disney vacation for us wouldn’t be complete with at least one character experience. While our little girl loves many a character, by far her favorites are Mickey and his friends. So without hesitation, we signed up for an early breakfast at Chef Mickey’s on our last full day of our vacation. We’ve dined here once before with little one when we were in Disney for Halloween and she loved it then so we could only imagine now almost a year later what her reaction may be. 

The only tough part about having an early breakfast reservation at a Disney resort is the act of actually getting there. Since we stayed at Art of Animation this time around we didn’t have access to the boat to drop us off at the Contemporary, so for our 7:00 breakfast reservation our only option was to catch the earliest bus to Magic Kingdom, which was at 6:45. They dropped us off at Magic Kingdom where we then had to hike over to the Contemporary, making us a little late for our reservation. I’m guessing that we’re not the only ones that have ever had that happen, since they weren’t really phased by our tardiness. Still though, they should have a better system for getting guests to their early breakfast reservations. 

Nonetheless, we arrived to our reservation, a little late, but we got there safe and sound, one of us dressed in her cutest Minnie dress. We waited only a few minutes before we were seated at one of the last tables in the first dining room. The chef immediately joined us and offered to escort me around the buffet to review my gluten free options. Knowing that I wouldn’t actually be daring enough to eat anything off of the buffet line I decided to save us both the time and just put in my order with him right away. I love Chef Mickey’s cheesy shredded hashbrown so that was a given, I also went with some eggs and extra crispy bacon too, and no Disney breakfast is complete without gluten free Mickey waffles and some fresh fruit. And as simple as that, my order was placed and Dan was up filling some plates for he and our little one. 



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Chef Mickey’s gluten free breakfast of cheesy hashbrowns, eggs, and crispy bacon.

I was busy cutting up Lila’s plate of food when my plates had arrived. Wow, that’s all I have to say, a lot of food for little old me. I knew that I wouldn’t touch even half of this amount of food, especially given the amount of distraction at this meal, but I had to at least try everything I wanted. Only a few bites into breakfast and the first of the characters began to circulate. Our little girl’s eyes grew ten sizes as she didn’t take her eyes off Goofy the entire time he walked around the room, only taking pauses to nibble at her food. And finally the moment arrived for her to meet her first character. I sprung her from her highchair and she ran up to him giving him a huge hug, a moment that makes our hearts melt for sure. She continued the same greeting with each of the characters, making Dan and I so thankful that we were able to bring her to Disney again.

Now the food itself was delicious, just as wonderful as I had remembered from months before. The hashbrown is always my favorite here, they remind me of a gluten filled hashbrown casserole that I used to enjoy at Cracker Barrel, a country style restaurant that we used to go to when I was younger. They’re the shredded potatoes that I love, coated with a cheesy sauce, can’t get better than that. The Mickey waffles I honestly can say I barely got a chance to enjoy as my little girl caught one glance and adopted half of my plate. But what I did taste was amazing! Besides being adorable, being gluten free didn’t impact their taste and texture at all. They’re beautiful aren’t they!   



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Soft and light gluten free Mickey waffles at Chef Mickey’s.

It was a wonderful start to our last full day of vacation and as you can see our little one was all smiles as we were leaving. We headed out to catch the monorail to head over to Magic Kingdom. We had some big plans for our last full day from meeting Ariel to enjoying the splash zone over by Dumbo, a surprise for little one that we thought she’d really enjoy, all ending with dinner at Kona Cafe and the electrical parade.  

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The monorail took a bit longer then we had planned, so we missed park opening but with fastpasses in hand we headed straight back to begin our long day in Magic Kingdom. That morning we explored every bit of Fantasyland from Ariel and Dumbo to Peter Pan and the carousel. To escape some of the heat we even headed into Gaston’s Tavern to enjoy some cool air and a snack too. No, sadly the giant cinnamon buns are not gluten free but their specialty drink, Lefou’s brew, is. So it was one Lefou’s brew for each of us, mine I’d be splitting with little one. It was pretty tasty, a cold apple flavored slushy with hints of marshmallow and topped with a passion fruit foam. The marshmallow was a bit strange for me but I did definitely like the combination of the apple slushy and passion fruit foam which was a bit sour. All together it was a pretty good treat, just nice to enjoy something gluten free while everyone else around you is digging into the Mount Everest of cinnamon buns.  



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Gaston’s Tavern Lefou’s Brew is gluten free and delicious too!

The rest of our time in Magic Kingdom, before heading to dinner, we let our little girl enjoy the splash zone over by Dumbo. She loved the water shooting out from the circus cars and who wouldn’t, seeing as the heat index was well over 100 that day. Being soaked from head to toe didn’t bother her as we hopped on the train to take a relaxing tour around the park. Once we were brought back to Fantasyland we headed up to the front of the park to shop a bit before dinner while our little girl enjoyed her nap time. 

Dinner that night we were super excited about seeing as we were revisiting Kona Cafe, where we had one of our favorite meals the trip before. We arrived a bit early but took advantage of the cool air and peace and quiet while our little girl was sleeping. Soon enough, we were all awake and being seated for dinner. It took awhile this time for the chef to come out to take my dinner order but I successfully placed my order for the gluten free noodle dish with chicken. Meanwhile, Dan ordered his sushi and it was Mickey shaped ravioli, and not to mention the deliciously sweet Hawaiian bread, on the menu that night for our little girl.



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Gluten Free Noodle Dish With Chicken at the Polynesian’s Kona Cafe.

Our meals had arrived and not a peep was heard around the table, except for the occasional excited declaration of Mickey being on little one’s plate. The Mickey raviolis were a hit for sure, definitely a dinner item that I wish we could get at home. My gluten free noodle dish though was by far one of my favorite meals from that trip, in all honesty it was one of the only nights that I wasn’t feeling sick at dinner, but putting that aside, it was the only dinner that I wished I knew how to make at home so I can enjoy it more often. The flavors are just amazing and remind me fondly of the days when I could enjoy a warm bowl of lo mein. Rice noodles and fresh veggies, some still with a little crunch, slathered with a delicious gluten free terriyaki sauce of sorts made me one happy gluten free Mommy.

With our last dinner coming to a close and the end of our vacation drawing near, we couldn’t help but look back at the past week with sadness. As always, the vacation flew by much faster than we had hoped. It was a bit more eventful in the health department than we had wished for but that’s life, you just have to roll with what life gives you sometimes. All together it was a wonderful Disney vacation, that ended with a great electrical parade that night with a couple of characters stopping by to say hi to our little one and a full morning the next day in Magic Kingdom to enjoy some last moments on our favorite rides. I’m still holding out hope that our next Disney vacation we won’t have to order a prescription, retreat to the hotel room for recovery, or make an impromptu visit to the urgent care center. We’re not sure when we’ll be back for our next Disney vacation but my fingers, toes, and everything that can be crossed will be crossed, along with many a prayer, for a completely healthy vacation. For now, we’ll be dreaming of our next days in Disney and all of the memories that they will bring.

Have A Magical Day,

Lindsay 

 

Gluten Free Roasted Red Peppers With Provolone Cheese: A Perfect Appetizer Or Side

Anytime Dan and I eat out I’m always on the lookout for new dishes that I can recreate easily at home. Without the recipes, I can’t replicate very many verbatim but using the same core ingredients I can get pretty close on my own. Early in September we attended my father-in-law’s birthday dinner at a restaurant nearby. The menu offered tons of different dishes, many of which weren’t gluten free for one reason or another but one in particular was right up my alley and I knew would be a dish that I’d try on my own later on. A plate full of roasted red peppers topped with steaming melted sharp provolone cheese was placed at our table and couldn’t have looked more appetizing. One taste and I was hooked, this dish was next on my list of at home recreations. 

First up was roasting red peppers, a task I’d never done on my own despite my love for roasted red peppers themselves. To be honest, red peppers are quite expensive so to spare myself the extra money and job itself, buying the jarred version is much easier. But for this dish, it was freshly cooked roasted red peppers all the way and I’m telling you these couldn’t have been easier to do. Once the red peppers were underway, putting together the rest of this dish was so simple. This is a perfect addition to any meal or dinner party, making a great appetizer or side dish. My husband and little one enjoyed these just as much as I did, which means that these Gluten Free Roasted Red Peppers With Provolone Cheese will definitely be appearing again at a future dinner or maybe upcoming holiday meal?

Note: This recipe is big enough for a family of three, so adjust as necessary for the number of people in your party.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large red peppers
  • Shredded Sharp Provolone Cheese (Belgioioso is gluten free)
  • Oregano
  • Salt or Garlic Salt

Directions:

  • Wash and dry your red peppers before placing them on the hottest part of your grill for roasting.
  • Using tongs, turn your red peppers over periodically until all sides are black. 
  • Once your red peppers are black, remove them from the grill and add them to a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap, and let them sit for 10 minutes, this loosens the skins so they can be removed easily.


Roast your red peppers on the grill until the skins turn black.



Roast your red peppers on the grill until the skins turn black.

  • Meanwhile shred some sharp provolone cheese for sprinkling on top of your red peppers and turn on the oven to 350.
  • Once 10 minutes have passed, carefully remove your red peppers and begin to peel off the charred skin with your fingers. I cut off the tops and slice down one side to make this easier. Also be sure to remove the seeds inside too.


Remove charred skins and seeds.



Remove charred skins and seeds.

  • Once all skins and seeds have been removed, add your roasted red peppers to a baking dish. Feel free to leave your red peppers as whole slices or cut up into sections like I did, these sizes were just a little better for our little diner. 
  • Sprinkle some sharp provolone cheese on top.


Sprinkle red peppers with shredded sharp provolone cheese.



Sprinkle red peppers with shredded sharp provolone cheese.

  • Finish with some oregano and a little salt or garlic salt. 
  • Cook your red peppers in the oven for about 10 minutes or until your cheese has melted. 


Melt shredded sharp provolone cheese on top of red peppers.



Melt shredded sharp provolone cheese on top of red peppers.

  • Enjoy!


Enjoy!



Enjoy!

These were such a hit at that birthday dinner I knew that they would be a new family favorite at home too. The flavor of the freshly roasted red pepper mixed with the melted sharp provolone cheese was delicious! This dish is definitely a crowd pleaser not only in taste but also appearance, it looks beautifully tasty doesn’t it? This is such a winner that it may even make an appearance at our next holiday dinner!  

 Sincerely,

Lindsay

Gluten Free Roasted Red Peppers With Provolone Cheese


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Ingredients
  1. 2 large red peppers
  2. Shredded Sharp Provolone Cheese (Belgioioso is gluten free)
  3. Oregano
  4. Salt or Garlic Salt
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry your red peppers before placing them on the hottest part of your grill for roasting.
  2. Using tongs, turn your red peppers over periodically until all sides are black.
  3. Once your red peppers are black, remove them from the grill and add them to a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap, and let them sit for 10 minutes, this loosens the skins so they can be removed easily.
  4. Meanwhile shred some sharp provolone cheese for sprinkling on top of your red peppers and turn on the oven to 350.
  5. Once 10 minutes have passed, carefully remove your red peppers and begin to peel off the charred skin with your fingers. I cut off the tops and slice down one side to make this easier. Also be sure to remove the seeds inside too.
  6. Once all skins and seeds have been removed, add your roasted red peppers to a baking dish. Feel free to leave your red peppers as whole pieces or slice up into sections like I did, these were just a better size for our little diner.
  7. Sprinkle some sharp provolone cheese on top.
  8. Finish with some oregano and a little salt or garlic salt.
  9. Cook your red peppers in the oven for about 10 minutes or until your cheese has melted.
  10. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Mom To Be http://www.glutenfreemomtobe.com/

Gluten Free Dinner And A Show at Disney’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, With My Husband Making His Acting Debut!

I know I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve treated you to Disney dining from our vacations. Sorry to leave you hanging on the rest of our last Disney vacation but there were a couple of other non-Disney blogging items that needed to be checked off the list. So without further delay I’ll fill you in on the events and meals that filled our last few days in Disney.  

This vacation we decided to treat ourselves for a day at Blizzard Beach and thank goodness we did. The August Florida heat was kicking our butts, okay mainly mine, and we were in desperate need for a cool down day. Our little girl is definitely a water baby, she loves taking baths, going in swimming pools, and splashing in knee deep ocean water so we knew that she’d be a huge fan of the water park. So when day 6 rolled around we donned ourselves in our bathing suits, water shoes, and plenty of sun tan lotion to enjoy Blizzard Beach.



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Blizzard Beach Fun

If you haven’t been to Blizzard Beach I highly recommend it. No not necessarily for all of the delicious gluten free eats and treats, which are kind of few and far between aside from your usual snacks, but rather for the family fun that can be had. They have a wonderful toddler/little kid zone equipped with a toddler deep pool with floating ice sculptures, squirters, and some really cool slides that even my little one could partake in. Even though we squished her little butt into one of those life vest swim suits we were still hesitant to send her on her way down a water slide. Following her lead though, she was ready and raring to go and scooted her way down the big slide with Dan at the top to send her off and me at the bottom to catch her safely. She loved every bit of it, especially the independence factor, and would’ve been content to spend the rest of the day in her area but we decided to check out the rest of Blizzard Beach.

We headed over to the older kid play area filled with tube slides, an obstacle course of floating ice caps to walk on, and a zip line, not really a play area for our little girl so Dan and I hopped in the pool and bopped around with her for a bit while the rest of her cousins explored their attractions. We did send her down a bigger version of the little kid slides and she loved every second of it. It was a little scary watching our tiny little girl do these big kid things but seeing as she had her life vest on and a once competitive swimmer for a Mommy waiting at the bottom we decided to let her give it a try. Afterwards it was onto the lazy river and wave pool, both of which were big hits for our little girl. All in all, a day with nothing but water is a winner for our family. Our little girl was a happy little clam and would’ve probably enjoyed a whole vacation just at Blizzard Beach.   

We called it a day early- to mid-afternoon so we could head back to our resort, eat something little, get cleaned up, and head out for dinner at Hoop Dee Doo Revue. After reading some pretty good gluten free reviews we decided to give it a try. With an early dinner/show reservation at 4:00 and a less than direct route to Fort Wilderness we headed out early to make our way to Magic Kingdom to get a boat over to Fort Wilderness. Soon enough we had arrived at the restaurant and waited to be let in for our dinner time. Our group of 9 were escorted to our table, which had a great view of the stage. The waiter brought the chef over shortly after we were seated and he reviewed all of the gluten free options with me. On the menu that evening was a garden salad, gluten free corn bread, grilled chicken, baked beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and ribs, sounded good to me! And let me add that you get bottomless sangria too, yay!



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Gluten Free Dinner at Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue

While we waited for our food to arrive the show had started which turned out to be a real blessing for our little one. Between nibbling on corn bread, coloring in and out of the coloring book, and watching the endless song and dance up on the stage, our little one was a happy camper. She would laugh and clap along with songs and even got the spotlight put on her, mid- corn bread bite I’d like to add, as the cutest little princess at the show. 

Our little girl was certainly a fan of the dinner and show but I had yet to taste any of the gluten free food to be a judge. While everyone else’s food had arrived, I anxiously awaited mine while I cut up a plate full for little one. Just as I was finishing, an overflowing plate of barbecue heaven was plopped down in front of me. I didn’t take a picture of my food at this dinner, mainly because it was so dark, but also because we had a major distraction during our meal which I’ll tell you about in just a minute. So back to the food, the ribs were delicious, fell right off the bone, and were definitely one of my favorites along with the mashed potatoes. The chicken was just grilled chicken, nothing fancy here, and the other accompaniments were okay as well. The gluten free cornbread was pretty good, a little dense for me, but tasty nonetheless. 



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An added bonus….my husband was picked to be in the show!

I barely had begun to enjoy my food when one of the performers was next to our table asking Dan to join them up on stage. Now, if this were me I would say no so fast but my husband is definitely a team player and took one for the team here. So up he went and my dinner was put on hold as I had to capture these moments on video. I couldn’t stop laughing at my poor husband’s impromptu acting debut that lasted for a good 20 minutes. Our little girl was ecstatic watching her daddy perform and just kept pointing at him. He was definitely a trooper, more specifically a brave little Indian, and gave us a memory that we’ll be able to share with our little girl for years to come.

When the star of the show returned to our table our dessert was waiting for him. Strawberry shortcake greeted everyone else and I had a plate of fresh strawberries and whipped cream. The strawberry shortcake got rave reviews, especially from our little one who couldn’t get enough of the super sweet strawberries and cake combo. My dessert was tasty, nothing to write home about, but that was okay since I was planning on a gluten free Dole Whip later that night anyway.

All together, our dinner at Hoop-Dee-Doo was a night to remember, thanks mainly to my husband’s performance. The food was pretty good and the show was so-so but it was nice to have some entertainment that kept our little one’s attention, allowing us some time to ourselves. It was a great experience and we’ll definitely be back there one day but we have lots of other new restaurants to try before we return. 

Stay tuned for our last full day of gluten free meals from Kona Cafe’s noodle dish to a Lefou’s Brew!

Have A Magical Day,

Lindsay

Schar Not Only Offers Fresh Gluten Free Bread But Also Frozen Now, At Half The Cost Too!



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I must admit, ever since my early days of gluten free living I’ve tried to steer clear of any loaf of bread that resides in the freezer. I just remember the very first loaf of gluten free bread that I tried, the misshapen slices of bread that I had to chisel away from the frozen loaf not only looked unappetizing but tasted and felt just how I had feared. Needless to say, ever since then I’ve not tried any loaves of gluten free bread that come from the freezer.

Being an avid bread consumer for the years prior to going gluten free, I suppose made me a harsher critic to one of the hardest gluten free products to make and make well. I’ve had this idea that gluten free bread would one day resemble regular breads with a light and airy texture and even be able to sit on the shelves alongside it’s counterparts in the grocery store with a similar price tag. While some parts of that dream are slowly coming to fruition, we still remain far off on others. Don’t get me wrong, more recently I’ve tasted some phenomenal gluten free breads out there from my daily choice of Schar to Canyon Bakehouse, Bread SRLY, and Udi’s, proving that we have come leaps and bounds from my earlier days of discolored, misshapen, and yucky tasting frozen gluten free bread. 

While I was grocery shopping the other day I noticed that one of my favorite gluten free brands. who just released gluten free bagels. also added frozen loaves of bread to their brand too. Even though frozen bread doesn’t usually appeal to me, seeing Schar’s logo in the freezer case did and I couldn’t help but be intrigued by it’s taste and flavor. Even though I haven’t tasted it yet, I should also mention a huge pro for this product and that’s the price. At my Shop Rite, there frozen loaf of bread costs $2.99 versus it’s fresh, shelf counterpart which costs $5.99. A huge savings and a definite pro to push me into trying it out but not without printing out this coupon first.

If you’re interested in trying Schar’s frozen loaves of bread then make sure you save $2 on one each loaf when you do. Let me know what you think!

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Fearing The Enterovirus: From One Mother To Another

Today I had planned on sharing another vlog on a blogging book that I’m loving right now but I thought today’s vlog could be dedicated to a health scare that has certainly scared this mom. Over the past month, news has really grown about the enterovirus and how it’s impacting children throughout the country. It seemed to slowly creep from the west coast to the east coast where I am and as it reached our town it did something that none of us thought it was able to do. Unexpectedly and without any warning, the enterovirus caused the death of a little preschooler who attended the preschool my nephew goes to. 

To see this virus come so close to us is terrifying and to see it claim the life of a little boy is heartbreaking. Just as there’s no vaccine to prevent this virus and no cure for it either, there unfortunately is no explanation as to why this virus is now potentially lethal. It’s a terrifying world that we live in where sending our children to school, running to the store, or having a play date could be risking the lives of our kids. So what do we do to protect them? Take a look at my vlog to see how we’re coping with the scariest cold/flu season that we’ve had to deal with as parents.

I know my family is overwhelmed with fear due to the proximity of this recent tragedy and is even more overwhelmed with how to protect our little girl. As mothers and parents we all posses the instinct to protect our families from anything and everything that can cause harm. I think that this is exactly why this is even more difficult to accept, that we’re unable to give medicines, vaccinate, and really protect our children from this virus. As a mom or mom-to-be, are you as overwhelmed with these feelings of fear and helplessness as I am? Feel free to share how you’re feeling on this health scare and what you’re doing to protect your family. 

Sincerely,

Lindsay

Try My Carmine’s Inspired Gluten Free Meatballs For The Family, They’re Perfect For Spaghetti, Sandwiches, Or Just By Themselves!

A huge pot of simmering sauce and meatballs filled the house with the most delicious smells on a Sunday; it’s like it was yesterday how vivid that food memory is for me, probably because sauce and meatballs were a family staple growing up. In retrospect, it’s kind of funny how that’s one of my most prominent food memories from my childhood, especially since my pickiness as a little girl kept me from ever eating the meatballs. They looked delicious of course, but to be honest, I refused to touch anything with ground beef, the texture was a huge deterrent for me. My poor parents, I must have really been a joy to cook for when I was younger! Thank goodness the gluten free challenge came later.

Now that I’ve become a tad bit more experimental with food I’ve really grown to enjoy ground beef, which is a huge relief to my husband who LOVES hamburgers, tacos, meatballs, and beyond. And while I wish that I had at least tried the meatballs that my parents spent all Sunday working on, I’ve now found my own meatball recipe, gluten free of course, that makes our Meatball Sundays just as memorably fragrant. Since I have no way of telling if they’re just as tasty as our family’s version, you can be sure that I put my parents to the taste test and I’m happy to report that these have received their stamp of approval, which means a lot in my book. 

Seeing as I come from the wonderful Italian family tradition of not writing recipes down, it was tough finding a place to begin to come up with a gluten free meatball recipe. I wanted something authentically Italian and full of flavor, but full of flavors that would fit my picky palette. You probably all know by now how much my family loves Carmine’s. Each and every dish that we’ve gotten there has been divine and we’re so fortunate that they offer a cookbook with all of their recipes. The Christmas shortly after my gluten free diagnosis I spotted this cookbook at my local BJs and thought it would be a great gift for my husband, especially since at that point we thought we’d never be able to actually dine there again. Since then I’ve created gluten free versions of a few of the recipes from the cookbook, mainly their meatballs. Their recipe gave me a great place to start, and with some changes here and there I’ve really made it my own. I’ve created a family recipe that we’ll enjoy for years to come and will hopefully give my little girl a familiar food memory too! Check out my Carmine’s inspired recipe for Gluten Free Meatballs For The Family! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb Lean Ground Beef, I like 85%
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Seasoned, Gluten Free Bread Crumbs, I like Schar and then I make my own Seasoned Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
  • 4 slices Gluten Free Bread, no crusts
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan/Romano cheese, I sometimes use Colonna brand
  • 3 tbsp Parsley
  • 2 tbsp Basil
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 heaping tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 10-12 cups Marinara Sauce, I like to use Tutturosso tomato sauce to start and season from there

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce:

  • 3 (28) oz cans Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tsp dried basil for tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp dried oregano for tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp dried parsley for tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp minced garlic for tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp olive oil for tomato sauce

Directions:

  • To a small mixing bowl, tear 4 slices of gluten free bread, without their crusts, into small pieces. Then add 1 cup of skim milk to the bread and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes or until all of the milk has nearly absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, add two eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk. 
  • Using your hands, mix in 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef with your eggs
  • Continue mixing with your hands and add 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs, 3 tbsp parsley, 2 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp salt, 1 heaping tsp chopped garlic, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. 
  • Once you’ve added your seasonings to your ground beef, add in your softened bread and mix with your hands. 
  • Finally, mix in 1 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese.


Meatballs (3)



Mixed ground beef, spices, bread crumbs, and cheese.

  • Cover your bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until meat mixture has firmed up a bit.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once chilled, using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, roll out small meatballs between the palms of your hands to about the size of a golf ball.


Meatballs (4)



Roll your ground beef mixture into meatballs.

  • Add the meatballs to a plate and refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes to firm up.
  • Once firmed, carefully add your meatballs to a slotted baking sheet or those cookie drying racks on top of deeper baking sheets so they don’t bake in all of their fat. Make sure you spray these with a non-stick spray.


Meatballs (5)



Golf ball sized meatballs.

  • Bake meatballs for about 30 minutes until they’ve browned. I always check the largest one by cutting down the middle and making sure it’s browned all the way through.
  • While your meatballs are cooking, prepare and heat your tomato sauce. Feel free to use your go to recipe, favorite jarred tomato sauce, or my tomato sauce recipe that I added to this post. 
  • Once your meatballs have finished, using tongs, carefully remove them from the baking sheet and add them to your sauce. 


Meatballs (8)



Browned Gluten Free Meatballs

  • Carefully cover your meatballs with sauce and heat on low for an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered to allow the flavors of the sauce and meat to intermingle. 


Meatballs (15)



Gluten Free Meatballs ready to top spaghetti or make a perfect sandwich!

  • Serve your meatballs on gluten free spaghetti or with some toasted gluten free baguettes and melted provolone cheese!


Gluten Free Meatball Sandwich



Gluten Free Meatball Sandwich

As the chilly fall days are rolling in, these meatballs are going to make so many appearances in our house. Just the other day I made these for some meatball sandwiches and they were mouthwatering, a little messy, but delicious nonetheless. I just toasted up some gluten free bread while my meatballs were simmering with the sauce, I prefer a baguette but only had these dinner rolls, but they were a great substitute. Then I added a few meatballs and sauce to the roll and melted some mozzarella or provolone cheese on top.  It was such a tasty dinner, and hit the spot for a warm and nostalgic meal. And for lunch the next day, we were lucky enough to enjoy nice warm bowls of meatballs too!

Depending on how many you’ll have dining with you, you can adjust this recipe as needed. Without any changes, it usually makes about 30-35 meatballs, depending on how large you make them. For a big family dinner I’ll follow the recipe exactly, but for our family of three I usually half the recipe which makes plenty of meatballs for firsts, seconds, and not to mention leftovers too. We always have enough meatballs for leftover lunch or dinner the next day. I just add them, with the sauce too, to a tightly closed plastic container and rewarm them in a sauce pan or microwave. Be creative too for your leftover meatballs, I’ve even used our extra meatballs for lasagna, and I must say they were a perfect addition!

So just because you’re gluten free, doesn’t mean your weekly Italian family dinner has to be missing meatballs. Throw these together and serve them by themselves, on rolls, or on your favorite gluten free spaghetti and enjoy!

Sincerely,

Lindsay 

TIP: I’ve also made these dairy free too just by omitting the cheese, or adding a diary free grated cheese, and they came out just as flavorful and delicious!

Carmine’s Inspired Gluten Free Meatballs For The Family


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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 lb Lean Ground Beef, I like 85%
  2. 2 large Eggs
  3. 1/2 cup Seasoned Gluten Free Bread Crumbs, I like Schar and then I make my own Seasoned Gluten Free Bread Crumbs by adding the breadcrumbs to the container first, then adding about one heaping tablespoon of dried basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, and garlic salt, capping the container, and shaking them to mix!
  4. 4 slices Gluten Free Bread, no crusts
  5. 1 cup Milk
  6. 1 cup Grated Parmesan/Romano Cheese, I sometimes use Colonna brand
  7. 3 tbsp Parsley
  8. 2 tbsp Basil
  9. 1 tbsp Salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  11. 1 heaping tsp Chopped Garlic
  12. 10-12 cups Marinara Sauce, try my Tomato Sauce
Gluten Free Mom To Be Tomato Sauce
  1. 3 28 oz cans Tuttorosso Tomato Sauce
  2. 3 tsp dried basil for tomato sauce
  3. 3 tsp dried oregano for tomato sauce
  4. 3 tsp dried parsley for tomato sauce
  5. 6 tbsp minced garlic for tomato sauce
  6. 6 tbsp olive oil for tomato sauce
  7. Add 6 tbsp olive oil and 6 tbsp minced garlic to sauce pan. Cook garlic on low-medium heat until slightly browned. Add 3 28 oz cans of tomato sauce (I like Tutturosso). Stir sauce and heat on low-medium. Add 3 tsp of dried basil, oregano, and parsley and stir to combine. Taste sauce and add a bit of garlic salt if you’d like. Heat sauce for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set sauce aside.
Instructions
  1. To a small mixing bowl, tear 4 slices of gluten free bread, without their crusts, into small pieces. Then add 1 cup of skim milk to the bread and allow to sit for 5-7 minutes or until all of the milk has nearly absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, add two eggs to a large mixing bowl and whisk.
  3. Using your hands, mix in 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef with your eggs
  4. Continue mixing with your hands and add 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs, 3 tbsp parsley, 2 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp salt, 1 heaping tsp chopped garlic, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.
  5. Once you’ve added your seasonings to your ground beef, add in your softened bread and mix with your hands.
  6. Finally, mix in 1 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese.
  7. Cover your bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until meat mixture has firmed up a bit.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Once chilled, using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, roll out small meatballs between the palms of your hands to about the size of a golf ball.
  10. Add the meatballs to a plate and refrigerate for an additional 10 minutes to firm up.
  11. Once firmed, carefully add your meatballs to a slotted baking sheet or those cookie drying racks on top of deeper baking sheets so they don’t bake in all of their fat. Make sure you spray these with a non-stick spray.
  12. Bake meatballs for about 30 minutes until they’ve browned. I always check the largest one by cutting down the middle and making sure it’s browned all the way through.
  13. While your meatballs are cooking, prepare and heat your tomato sauce. Feel free to use your go to recipe, favorite jarred tomato sauce, or my tomato sauce recipe that I added to this post.
  14. Once your meatballs have finished, using tongs, carefully remove them from the baking sheet and add them to your sauce.
  15. Carefully cover your meatballs with sauce and heat on low for an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered to allow the flavors of the sauce and meat to intermingle.
  16. Serve your meatballs over gluten free spaghetti or with some toasted gluten free baguettes (or whatever gluten free bread you have on hand) and melted provolone cheese!
Adapted from Carmine’s
Adapted from Carmine’s
Gluten Free Mom To Be http://www.glutenfreemomtobe.com/

Authentic Gluten Free Sourdough That Makes You Feel Like You’re In Fisherman’s Wharf In San Francisco

Growing up, I went on some pretty memorable family vacations, but one that really stands out is our cross country adventure. For a whole month one summer, my parents hitched a trailer to our suburban and drove us from New Jersey out to California and back again. We saw so much of the countryside traveling this way and got to stop at some pretty cool places too like Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Alcatraz, Muir Woods, and the Grand Canyon. Not to mention visiting some quirky sights too like the Corn Palace, a place made entirely of corn, riding the trolley cars, and walking the crooked street of San Francisco. It was a jam packed vacation that took us to places we may have never been to otherwise. Thanks to my parents I’m able to tell my little girl more about this country than I ever dreamed I could.

Some of my favorite times on our cross country vacation were spent in California where I met a whole other half of our family for the first time, where we went to Disneyland, and where we walked the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco, taking in all of the sights, sounds, and tastes these cities had to offer. I still remember like it was yesterday, spending a morning seeing San Francisco’s Alcatraz and then walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, picking out a place for lunch. We decided on soups and/or sandwiches from a delicious restaurant nestled right in the wharf, offering authentic San Francisco sourdough. It was so chilly and windy, a perfect San Francisco day for soup and sourdough bread. I remember my mom and dad’s huge sourdough bread bowl, overflowing with piping hot soup inside, it was a sight to see for sure and apparently tasted even better than it looked. Never being a huge soup fan, I had a sandwich on sourdough bread and I can still taste the delicious flavor. The crust was so crunchy on the outside and the inside was light and filled with wholes, but chewy too, just how a perfect sourdough roll should be. Years later, and we haven’t been back to San Francisco but the flavors and textures of that lunch have not been forgotten.



Sourdough Tomato Mozz Sandwiches (1)



Gluten Free Sourdough By Bread SRSLY

Since going gluten free, my diet has been left with many holes in it, without gluten free substitutions to fill them in. As the hype and popularity of this diet/lifestyle grows, there seems to be more and more unique gluten free options out there. We’re far from where I hope we’ll end up one day but just being able to find new items like this gluten free sourdough is really encouraging. Which brings me to the beauty of Twitter. I was blogging not too long ago and stumbled upon a gluten free sourdough bread company in San Francisco, Bread SRSLY. Just after one glimpse, I was instantly transported back to my family’s time in San Francisco and couldn’t help but crave a taste of that crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside sourdough bread. But would these gluten free rolls and loaves of bread compare to the ones that stood out in my memory? Well there was only one way to find out.



photo (2)



Happy delivery day in the Gluten Free Mom To Be’s house!

A little chat later, and the generous gluten free folks at Bread SRSLY in San Francisco were sending along a couple of samples of their gluten free sourdough bread. I couldn’t have been more excited for their arrival and thankfully didn’t have to wait too long. I opened the box like it was Christmas morning and found three brown paper packages of gluten free sourdough in a few varieties, including rolls, a loaf of regular bread, and a loaf of kale bread. I couldn’t wait to dive into one of them, so that day for lunch I decided on a warm sandwich of fresh mozzarella and sliced tomatoes between two halves of a sourdough roll.



Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomatoes, And A Gluten Free Sourdough Roll



Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced Tomatoes, And A Gluten Free Sourdough Roll

Looks tasty doesn’t it? Well, I’m happy to report that these rolls taste just as good as they look. After unrolling the top of the paper package you get a whiff of sourdough. The rolls are bit darker than your classic white sourdough rolls but texture and flavor are right on point. You can enjoy them with or without toasting, both ways they taste good. The crust on the outside is crispy and the inside is chewy and light, just like the sourdough deliciousness I enjoyed years ago. Of course you can enjoy these anyway you’d like, but I highly recommend heating up a couple of slices of mozzarella and tomatoes on a toasted gluten free sourdough roll. You end up with a warm, gluten free sandwich, with all of the fantastic flavor and texture of the sourdough roll, that would be perfect being served in Fisherman’s Wharf for a breezy and cool San Francisco day. 



Gluten Free Sourdough Rolls By Bread SRSLY



Gluten Free Sourdough Rolls By Bread SRSLY

Bread SRSLY has joined the ranks of companies that have seemed to accomplish the impossible. They’ve produced a gluten free product that is 100% unique to the gluten free world that resembles it’s regular version remarkably well. We all know that perfecting taste and texture of gluten free products, especially those in the bread family, is incredibly difficult but seems to be done flawlessly by some of these smaller companies. My favorite feature of these sourdough rolls is that you can taste the love that’s baked into them. You can just tell that so much thought, trial and error, and passion has been put into making a great product, which just makes them taste that much better.

Take a look at the Bread SRSLY site to see the entire list of gluten free products that they offer. And if you’re not in the Bay area it’s not a problem, neither am I, but I can still order some of their sourdough products on their site and get them sent right to my front door. These rolls are yet another fantastic addition to the gluten free world and one that I’ll add to my pantry whenever I can. Congratulations Bread SRSLY on your gluten free success!

Sincerely,

Lindsay 

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